Noun – A condition or circumstance that puts one in a favorable or superior position.
Verb – Put in a favorable or more favorable position.
The staff has been working through Patrick Lencioni’s book The Advantage. And while the book is written to help business leaders understand the importance of organizational health, we have found Lencioni’s “Four Discipline Model” useful in helping us think about the organizational health of American Reformed Church.
In last week’s article I focused on the first Discipline which is to Build a Cohesive Leadership Team. And according to Lencioni, a cohesive team is marked by these five behaviors: building trust, mastering conflict, achieving commitment, embracing accountability, and focusing on results.
This week I am going to begin addressing Discipline 2: Create Clarity. Creating clarity is all about achieving alignment so as to minimize any possibility of confusion or disorder that might negatively impact our ministry. Since the 1980’s many organizations have attempted to center their clarity and alignment efforts around the “mission statement.” However, according to Lencioni, the major disappointment with most mission statements is that “they have neither inspired people to change the world nor provide them with an accurate description of what the organization actually does.”
Lencioni would go on to suggest that creating clarity and alignment requires a much more rigorous and down-to-earth approach than grouping a series of generic buzzwords and aspirational phrases crammed together. He recommends if leaders are going to bring clarity to their organization, then the must agree on the answer to these six questions: Why do we exist? How do we behave? What do we do? How will we succeed? What is most important, right now? And, who must do what?
So let’s begin with the first question, why do we exist? Why did God create mankind? Did he create mankind to procreate and take care of the earth? No, that’s more of a response for question number three—what do we do?
Why do we exist? I believe the first question and answer of the Westminster Catechism helps us here. Question: What is the chief end of man? Answer: The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.
David writes in Psalm 86:9, “All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, Lord; they will bring glory to your name.” In John 17:4 Jesus spoke to his Father saying, “I have brought your glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.” And in addressing our freedom in Christ, Paul instructs in I Corinthians 10:31, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all of the glory of God.” And finally from Revelation 4:11, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things and by your will they were created and have their being.”
The Bible seems to be pretty clear about why we exist; God created us—God created everything—to bring glory to his name. Which raises many questions like: Is it truly your desire to glorify God through your life? Would you say your daily focus is on enjoying God’s presence or enjoying many other things? Are you seeking the heart of God to fulfill the plans he has for your life, or is your heart mostly set on fulfilling your plans? And would you say ARC is growing for God’s glory?
May it be said of us that we are a grateful people whose only concern is to bring glory to God through our lives, for there is no other reason we exist! Soli Deo gloria, Mike